Pears, I tell you


Conversation starter right here

There are days when I cannot believe that my job is teaching English and it’s for good reasons, and then there are days like today. Days where I have dropped my son off at childcare despite him getting over bronchitis (again!) and believing he would be better off at home, but I shouldn’t take yet another day off for this company and cancel on these students yet again. Days where I spent 30 minutes trying to find my keys and had to do all sorts of mad dashing to get to work at all. Days where I’ve lugged my laptop in despite the fact it will be raining and I have a fair bit of walking outside to do, primarily so I can play the listening task. Days where I’ve prepared for their lessons the previous night and in the aftermath of the previous week’s lesson despite never being paid for that time. Days where I remember all the little details, like who doesn’t work well together, who sits where, who can’t see the whiteboard well.

It felt like it had taken me a good bit of effort to front up at all for class, and I started the lesson by reminding them brightly that we were practicing the past tense today, talking about what we did over the summer. They knew this in advance, because I also work out what we’re doing when and let them know, and they nodded agreeably as I said it. Then the student with the biggest ego in the group kicked things off and declared that during the summer, he eat pears. “I eat pears last summer.” He said it twice. His English is actually pretty good and I wondered, not for the first time, if he’s really just trolling me with these random exhibitions of shitty grammar.

And then the rest of them were off, talking about pears and slipping in as much Japanese as they possibly could. Because pears. There are a number of different types of Japanese pears and not only do they know what they are but what’s supposedly different about them and which region of Japan each is grown in. They still can’t remember that kuri is chestnut and marron isn’t English and we’ve had this conversation every autumn for the last five plus years. Apparently, even expecting them to remember that ate is the past tense of eat is a bit much. But hey. Those pears.

I know there are worse things I could be doing than teaching English to (elderly) adults who want to stay on the same language plateau forever after. It’s decent money and most of the time, I like these students as people. It’s just that after the effort it had taken just to successfully be there at all, to have the students want to spend the lesson discussing pear breeds in Japanese was a bit… dumbfounding, I guess.

Hide and Seek


This week, I’m going to try just writing a bunch of short posts about my life currently. I don’t know how it will go, but I hope you enjoy it 🙂

At just shy of three, my son has quite suddenly become a hide and seek enthusiast. An ongoing fascination with making things appear and reappear plus a wish to get into things he generally shouldn’t meant this was somewhat inevitable. I tried to teach him a few months ago but it didn’t really click. Now, a very catchy song that made the whole thing clear and several Mickey Mouse clubhouse episodes later, he gets it.

Well, sort of. He doesn’t quite understand how only counting to one makes hiding a bit difficult, or that hiding in the same place I just did is a little obvious. He is definitely struggling with the idea that him not being able to see me doesn’t mean I can’t see him, especially when he “hides” with his face in his hands about five steps from where I’m standing.

It’s actually fun, though. I’ve been looking forward to the stage where he wants to actually play more structured games and if it’s all a bit of a work in progress, his mad giggles at the whole thing make it worth it.


This Week – September 22nd 2018 – Rainy and quietly tired

Another largely uneventful week, though autumn finally seems to be arriving with that mix of warm and cool days that mark the beginning of it and the days becoming decidedly shorter. We’ve had a lot of rainy days and the cooler nights have left us sleepier than…. well, not ever, but sleepy!

I worked, lurching around for all three companies to varying degrees. The children who remember me from before maternity leave (they’re preschoolers, long-term memory isn’t their strong point) ask where E is. She is safely at hoikuen, childcare, where she remains very popular, but the question always makes me wonder at how hard going back to this work would be if something else had happened to her.

Despite the temperature improving, the rain has made outside time a bit harder than ideal. While I don’t hesitate to dress Mr K in his raincoat and rain boots and unleash him on the puddles, even they lose their novelty and I have E to consider too. R has been finishing work earlier than usual and he’s been taking Mr K out a lot, though. I took them on the trains for what feels like the millionth time, and we visited a shopping area with a large selection of toy trains with which Mr. K could mess about. E’s second attempt to get her vaccines was successful, though she developed a fever about 24 hours later and got uncharacteristically grumpy and clingy as a result. The fever’s passed now but she’s still not quite herself.

Things are mostly fine but, truth be told, I’ve finished the week with a bad headache that won’t quite go away and I’ve got that overwhelmed feeling again, where everything feels too much and doing anything else seems a bit impossible. I need to rest and… regroup, I guess? Next week isn’t looking too bad. I’ve got four days of work and E will turn 7 months old. Have a nice one, everyone!